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Summer Girls Program

2013 session--Do not reproduce without permission. Credit and Permissions contact Physics Department, UMD.

The Physics Frontier Center at the Joint Quantum Institute supports Summer Girls, an intensive, hands-on program that brings 9th- and 11th-grade girls to the University of Maryland's Department of Physics for two weeks of instruction, exploration and experiment. This is a free program open to all upcoming 9th, 11th and 12th graders, and we receive applications from a diverse group of young females* with one thing in common--- the desire to learn more about physics. No prior physics knowledge is necessary but applicants are required to write a statement explaining why they would like to attend this program. Check back in the Spring of 2014 for application information.

9th Grade Program

The program will run daily from 8:30am – 4pm. In the mornings, activities include demonstrations, complete hands-on laboratory experiments, listen to lectures, and document their progress in journals. The afternoons are devoted to an ongoing two-week project that teaches participants trial and error and the principles of the scientific method. At the end of the two-week program, parents, teachers and siblings are invited to a closing ceremony where Summer Girls present their favorite demonstrations.

11th Grade Advanced Program

While the 9th grade program focuses on classical physics, the 11th grade advanced program will jump into the world of modern physics. The program will run daily from 9am – 3pm. Participants will learn about topics ranging from relativity, to antimatter, quantum mechanics, physical uncertainty, quantum computing and more. The afternoons will be filled with hands-on lab activities, visits to cutting-edge research labs, discussions with professors who currently specialize in modern physics and a project to make the discussions of modern topics tangible. Students will be introduced to topics that they will likely not be offered in their high school classes, from the thought experiments of Einstein to current applications in code breaking.

About the Program

In 1990, two faculty members discussed that there was nothing available to interest girls in physics. They applied to the National Science Foundation for funding and from there, the Physics Department Summer Girls Outreach Program was created. The program started with one, two-week program session and has grown to two, two-week, sessions. After increased popularity and demand for the Summer Outreach Program for rising 9th grade girls, the program was extended to rising 11th grade girls.

Since its inception, over 1,000 rising ninth graders have attended this program. Past participants have gone on to become engineers, doctors, computer specialist and, of course, physicists. Summer Girls have come not only from Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC but also from Pennsylvania, New Jersey and all over the world.

Contact Information

Dr. Sonali Shukla
Department of Physics
1120 John S. Toll Building
University of Maryland
College Park, MD 20742

* Program is open to all qualified applicants, both females and males.

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